With the last name Earnhardt, everybody automatically expects you to do well, once you hit the track. That’s no exception with Jeffrey Earnhardt as there are already the predictions hitting the floor.
[media-credit name=”Flickr” align=”alignright” width=”248″][/media-credit]He came out of the gate with a top 10 at Daytona and went to Phoenix and finished 19th. While everybody is looking for this success, he right now is set on learning lessons and moving forward with them.
While preparing for Darlington this weekend, he took some time to answer some questions for the readers.
Ashley McCubbin: What are some of your thoughts on the year so far?
Jeffrey Earnhardt: So far, I’ve had a pretty good season starting off. We finished seventh at Daytona and we finished 19th at Phoenix – didn’t have the best shot, but we ran it right to the end of the race and we didn’t have a single scratch on the truck. Anytime you can finish out a race like that it’s definitely progress. We’re just slowly working on making our entire program better. We’re just waiting for everything to fall into place to run upfront, but for now it’s just having everything work in order, giving the feedback and getting the seat time to learn these trucks.
AM: How’d you get involved with Rick Ware Racing?
JE: Well, I guess it was like two or three years ago, I got the opportunity to drive some Nationwide races for him. We went to Dover and tried to make the race and ended up not making the race, but that’s when I first met him. This opportunity came about to do five races and obviously the five races last year led to a full season this year.
AM: What are some of your expectations for this year?
JE: Just the seat time. We want to go out here and run the best we can, but also we want to go out and learn as much as we can with finishing races. I mean, if we do that then I don’t see why we can’t be competiting to win rookie of the year. There’s definitely a possibility as we’ll see how the year goes and where it takes us, but to start, it’s just to get as much seat time and just go from there.
AM: Speaking of lessons, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned so far this year?
JE: Just to get to the finish and figure out what the truck needed and if you do that, you’ll come out in one piece and if you’ll have a decent finish. Even though you’re getting the finishes, you got to understand that you’re still learning and probably the biggest thing I’ve learned is to be there at the finish.
AM: What are some of your thoughts going into Darlington?
JE: I actually just rode around with Todd Bodine in a pace truck and it is quite a strange track. It’s got totally different corners and seems to be a tough track as we talked about how he did, how tough it is and how easy it is to take yourself out of the race. It seems that’s the toughest part, just getting used to the track, but not stepping over that boundary.
AM: With the last name Earnhardt, there are a lot of expectations. Care to share any thoughts on that?
JE: There’s a lot of expectation and a lot of pressure that gets put on you. It’s just that you got to learn how to deal with it and if you can handle it the right way, you’ll be fine and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of not letting it get to me. Just doing my thing and I’m just here to learn and be a racecar driver and I try not to worry about all that.
AM: Which race track are you looking forward to?
JE: I look forward to all of them. I mean, I’m looking forward to go doing to Dover for simple fact I ran good there before and I think we can get out of there with a successful run. I mean, I look forward to each and every race and each race I am just as excited as the next one and there’s really no special one I’m really look forward to.
AM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
JE: I would like to be up in the Cup level. Obviously, my goal is too potentially to end up at that level and five years from now I should be there. And hopefully won a championship in one of the three NASCAR series, whether Nationwide or Truck, but I’d like to be at the Cup level in five years.
AM: What is your advice for other people getting into racing?
JE: Just don’t ever give up. It’s tough and it’s not as easy as some people may think. If you really want it bad enough, you can get it accomplished. You just gotta really stick to it and push hard to get what you want. It may seem tough and you may want to get down, but if you push hard enough, eventually you’ll get it and the reward is definitely worth the wait.
AM: Who do you admire outside of racing?
JE: Johnny Cash was definitely a good one for me just because he was his own man and he was just kind of a man’s kind of man and more of that kind of person, but I know, really, I’ve just always been in racing and never really worried about anything else. I’ve been around racing my entire life and haven’t really cared about watching anything else.